In late nineteenth century Brooklyn, Ceddie Errol, the young son of an American woman and a late Englishman finds himself the sole male heir of his paternal grandfather, the Earl of Darincourt. The Earl, who has a pronounced distate for all things American and had previously refused to have anything to do wth Ceddie or his mother, invites them to relocate to England so Ceddie be groomed to take over the family title and fortune. Will the old aristocrat, a gruff character with a stern grip on the family wealth, remake the generous and easy-going Ceddie in his image or will it go the other way around?
This film is one the of the four Selznick International Pictures productions that fell in the public domain after renewal registrations were not filed timely. These are all well-made, well-acted, big budget productions and are worth a look. For reference, the other three are: Nothing Sacred (1937) A Star is born (1937) Made for each other (1939)
The version uploaded here is a two-pass H264 transcoding (using HandBrake 0.9.4) of the original 3.9GB MPEG2 already existing on the archive, with the intent of making the film more accessible to people who might otherwise be discouraged by the sheer size of the original. The original print had seen better days and I haven't done any reprocessing beyond de-telecining, so be prepared for occasional dots, spots and jumpy images.
Note for Microsoft Windows users Your version of Windows Media Player might not be able to handle MP4 containers such as the one offered here. If this is the case, the film can still can be played using the VLC media player or Apple Quicktime, both of which are free to download. I personally recommend VLC, as it is much more versatile and can do a better job with other formats that Windows Media Players does support. For example, VLC plays MP2 soundtracks embedded in AVI containers such as this one seamlessly, while Windows Media Player 10 just plays the video without any sound, leading some users to wrongly think that they downloaded a film with no soundtrack.
June 21, 2011 Subject:
As the third screen adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett's popular novel, it is an avalanche of sweetness and sentimentality only '30s Hollywood could pull off without having audiences run from theatres in search of insulin. One of the reasons why is this amazing cast of superb character actors (in order of appearance): Una O'Conner, Jessie Ralph, Guy Kibbee, Henry Stephenson, C. Aubrey Smith, Constance Collier, E.E. Clive, plus many more. The title role is played by Freddie Bartholomew, a child actor much loved by mothers and grandmothers, and thoroughly detested by us kids growing up on the lower west side of Manhattan. Delores Costello is his widowed, self-sacrificing mother. Mickey Rooney has a small but important role.
A nine-year-old Brooklyn boy living in genteel poverty, is told he's heir to a British earldom. This necessitates his move to England to live with the aristocratic grandfather he's never known. (Have the first hankie ready for Bartholomew's farewell scenes. Save the second hankie for moisture-inducing scenes to come.) A sudden turn of events puts everything in jeopardy. Nevertheless the plucky lad eventually triumphs. The large cast has no weak links. However the great (sir) C. Aubrey Smith turns in the outstanding performance as Bartholomew's misanthropic grandfather.
Excellent production values, thoroughly professional camerawork and skillful direction designed to wring out every last drop of sentiment, results in industrial-strength schmaltz you will either love or hate. I love it.
Thanks to the uploader for the manageable file size. The overall print quality is good. There are a few missing-frame dropouts.
CAST NOTE: Delores Costello is billed as Delores Costello Barrymore.
FRANCES HODGSON BURNETT: She wrote two more children's books which have received many screen and TV adaptations - "The Secret Garden" and "A (the) Little Princess." Both are available as Lebrivox audio books through the following link.